What If We Planted a Trillion Trees

it's dawn it's dark and you don't know what kind of weather is waiting for you outside your tent it doesn't matter anyway in rain hail sleet snow blistering heat you're on the front lines shovel in hand wearing over 20 kilograms of gear battling against nature to save the environment on a good day you might plant 2,000 trees in a ten-hour shift but imagine if you had to do this every day for the next 570 thousand years this is what if and here's what would happen if we planted one trillion trees it's true tree planting is no picnic bears bugs blisters unpredictable terrain unpredictable weather up north it wouldn't be uncommon for a tree planter to pee on their own hands to keep them from freezing tree planting is undoubtedly one of the world's hardest jobs so why would anyone do it because if they didn't life would be much worse for everyone since 1900 births average temperature has risen by one degree that doesn't sound like much but just wait till you feel it if our planet becomes just 2 degrees hotter than it was in the 20th century heat waves flooding crop failure and animal extinction will be commonplace doing nothing about it would just be reckless demonstrating an extreme indifference not just a human life but to all life on Earth you might even call it second-degree murder some ideas that have been put forward for cooling the planet include a giant space umbrella to shield the earth from the Sun or a giant space mirror to reflect sun rays back into space meanwhile back on earth we've already got trees that absorb the harmful carbon emissions that warm our planet while also expelling oxygen so that we can breathe problem is we just don't have enough of them to do the job while the world is currently home to roughly 3 trillion trees we lose about 10 billion of them every year and as you might expect we've become more efficient at stripping our forests than we are at replanting them as a consequence 20% of the planet's greenhouse emissions are caused by deforestation compared to 14% by transportation if we planted a trillion trees we could offset a decade's worth of those emissions time that we desperately need but it will truly require an international effort to realize this goal if every human on earth planted just 150 trees we could meet our one trillion tree goal quite easily but that's just not very realistic and while the world's tree planters work long hard days to pick up the slack there still aren't enough of them to get the job done in time a study at Yale University concluded that if we continue our current rate of deforestation without planting more trees our planet will be completely treeless within 300 years already it's been calculated that the world has lost half of its trees since the last ice age before we revisit the space umbrella idea let's consider some of the more feasible options that are on the table tree planting drones for example can plant up to 100,000 trees a day the equivalent of about 50 veteran tree planters and while a lot of students take up tree planting as a lucrative summer job the more innovative ones have found other ways to cash in but whether we do it by drones or by robots it's time to bring out the big guns in this battle for our planet planting a trillion trees is still far ahead in our future do you know what our world would look like without them well that's a story for another what-if [Music]

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